Area 1 Security, a cybersecurity startup founded by former N.S.A. hackers, secures $25M funding to protect businesses against phishing attacks | Tech News

The adoption of cloud-based email by companies large and small is now mainstream. According to Gartner’s Email Security Market Guide, more than 70 percent of corporate email will be cloud-native — principally Microsoft Office 365 and Google Gmail — by 2021. In a world where the inbox is in the cloud, the architectures of legacy Secure Email Gateway (SEG) vendors continue to be challenged and are a vestige of the past, particularly when it comes to Business Email Compromises and other targeted threats.

Advanced phishing protection, Multi-mode inspection, Cloud-native scale and integrated prevention, detection and response have emerged as key criteria for protecting organizations as they migrate away from traditional Secure Email Gateways to Cloud Email Security solutions, instead. Enter Area 1 Security, a Redwood City, CA-based cybersecurity startup focused on eliminating targeted, socially engineered cyber attacks.

Today Area 1 Security announced has closed $25 million in growth funding to invest in heavy product R&D investment, and significantly expand its go-to-market resources with a specific focus on an aggressive multi-tier channel strategy. The round  was led by new investors, ForgePoint Capital, along with current investors Kleiner Perkins, Icon Ventures and Top Tier Capital. To date, the stealth mode startup has raised a total of $82.5 million funding. In conjunction with the funding, Area 1 Security also announced cybersecurity veteran and ex-Dell/SonicWall executive, Patrick Sweeney as CEO.

The expanded leadership and financing demonstrates fast-growing demand for Area 1’s Cloud Email Security solution led by Fortune 500 customers across financial services, healthcare, consumer goods, manufacturing, and other industries.

Founded in 2013 by security experts from NSA and MIT, and data analytics specialists from NSA and Disney, Area 1 Security is the only company that preemptively stops Business Email Compromise, malware, ransomware and targeted phishing attacks. By focusing on the earliest stages of an attack, Area 1 stops phish — the root cause of 95 percent of breaches — 24 days (on average) before they launch.

“Email security is fundamentally broken, with phishing attacks consistently breaching defenses, leading to significant business losses for organizations large and small. The simple fact is that 95 percent of breaches begin with a phish disguised as an innocuous email,” said Sweeney. “By focusing on the earliest stages of an attack combined with the industry’s leading small pattern analytics technology, Area 1 is uniquely able to bring preemption to email security. We stop phishing campaigns prior to their inflicting damage.”

In the first half of 2020 alone, Area 1 intercepted and prevented $273 million in active financial cyber fraud perpetrated through sophisticated Business Email Compromise (BEC) phish. The company also blocked millions of phish missed by cloud email providers and legacy SEG defenses, underscoring the enormity of the problem organizations face.

“While email continues to be the predominant business collaboration application, innovation in Email Security has stagnated. We’ve seen damage from email security failures climb to outrageous heights over the past few years, with little indication of slowing down,” said Alberto Yepez, co-founder and managing director of ForgePoint Capital. “Area 1’s preemptive approach and a performance-based business model position the company to lead this rapidly growing market and disrupt legacy incumbents who have failed their customers time and again.”

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